NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — One hundred people moved into a new city-owned facility on Thursday in Norfolk as part of a campaign to end homelessness in the Mermaid City.
The City of Norfolk’s new homeless shelter is a permanent gift for 100 people experiencing homelessness.
Norfolk’s Community Services Board Executive Director Sarah Paige Fuller says this is the first city-run homeless shelter.
“Our goal is to help people that have just not been able to do it to make it out of the shelters or to get into housing be able to have a safe place to be so we can help them get to what’s going to be permanent for them,” she said.
The shelter offers a food pantry, outdoor spaces and — most importantly — a safe place to live.
“They can lock up their medication in lockers. They don’t have to worry about stuff getting stolen or ruined by being outside,” she said. “So it really gives them the chance to get well while we’re working on trying to get them to get housed.”
Staff members want to address multiple areas to help combat homelessness by providing access to things like medical services and classes, thanks to the help of city staff and community partners from the Urban Renewal Center.
“Big things people really love is literacy skills. It’s huge. Helping people study for the GED is also huge, and art classes,” she said.
More opportunities are coming and volunteers are always needed, but for now — the greatest gift is safety, security and a place to call home.
“They have their own key to their room,” she said. “They may be sharing a room with somebody else but it’s their own. And it gives people a sense of safety and security and peace that they may not have had in a very long time.”
If you’d like to volunteer or find out a way to help, email email@example.com or call 757-708-4354.